Attention: You are using an outdated browser, device or you do not have the latest version of JavaScript downloaded and so this website may not work as expected. Please download the latest software or switch device to avoid further issues.

News > Advancing Architecture and Design > 6 Philly Buildings and Spaces Designed by Female Architects

6 Philly Buildings and Spaces Designed by Female Architects

By Melissa Romero (Curbed Philadelphia)

The architecture profession is one of many that is dominated by males, and has been that way for decades. In 1973, females made up just 1 percent of all licensed architects in the U.S., according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). But that number has grown, and continues to rise: As of 2015, women made up 35 percent of the profession, according to NCARB.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Curbed Philly took a look back at six Philadelphia-based buildings and spaces designed by locally-based female designers between 1890 and the early 2000s, carving a path for future female architects.

1. Mill Rae - Hidden away in Somerton, Mill Rae was designed by Penn graduate Minerva Parker Nichols in 1890 for a leading suffragist Rachel Avery Foster. Nichols had only recently established herself as the first female in the country to practice architecture independently—with no man attached to her firm.

2. Parkway House - Elizabeth Fleisher got her start in architecture working for Edward P. Simon. But her biggest claim to fame is designing the Parkway House, a 14-story luxury apartment building on Pennsylvania Avenue.

3. Anne Tyng Residence - Visionary architect Anne Tyng, lived in this home on Waverly Street for five decades, during which she became a long-time professional and life-partner of Louis Kahn. While influencing many of Kahn’s significant works, Tyng also transformed this 19th-century corner rowhome into a midcentury modern abode, adding smart space-saving details like built-ins, a Murphy bed, and a compact kitchen.

4. Kahn Korman House landscape - Harriet Pattison’s career spans 50 years, and many of her most well-known projects as a landscape architect took place while working for Louis Kahn. One of her most notable local works involved designing the landscape at the Kahn Korman house in nearby Fort Washington in 1971.

5. Franklin Court House - There’s no denying the legacy of Denise Scott Brown, who co-authored the game-changing Learning From Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form with husband Robert Venturi. Her list of works, both in Philly and beyond, appears to be never-ending, and include a mix of writings, master plans, and public spaces, including Franklin Court in Old City. Built in 1978, Scott Brown and Venturi placed the main exhibit area of Ben Franklin’s house underground and designed a steel “ghost” structure to represent the original house.

6. Schuylkill River Park - Schuylkill River Park continues to grow and change, but landscape architect Margie Ruddick and Synterra Partners are behind the master plan that dates back to 2002. Ruddick, who won the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in landscape architecture, said of the project, “We tried to humanize the experience of heavy infrastructure along the waterfront,” meshing the site’s ecology with new places to hang out along the once inaccessible river waterfront. Today, the Schuylkill River is arguably one of the most popular public spaces in the city.

To read more about each project and see photos check out the link below:

Similar stories

Most read

Doug Hertsenberg, AIA, brings over 30 years of experience to his role at Archer & Buchanan

Meet Doug Hertsenberg, AIA—new principal at Archer & Buchanan Architecture! More...

Lobby at The Virginian (photo credit: Jeffrey Totaro)

The multiyear $67 million renovation effort includes state-of-the-art updates to the community's living options and amenities More...

This website is powered by